Cuomo's a guy who won't say no, so backers press forward with N.H. draft Write-in instructions going out to voters

February 13, 1992|By Jules Witcover | Jules Witcover,Staff Writer

CONCORD, N.H. -- Encouraged by Gov. Mario M. Cuomo's unwillingness to ask them to stop, organizers of the draft-Cuomo drive here released television and radio ads yesterday urging New Hampshire voters to write in his name in next Tuesday's Democratic presidential primary.

In the television ad, the New York governor is seen and heard on the left side of a split screen speaking about the recession, as his name is slowly printed, white on black for a blackboard effect, on the right side. The radio ad features a longer segment of the same remarks.

"We are in a recession that is going to be worse than anything you've seen in 50 years," Mr. Cuomo says in the clip from an earlier interview. "We are absolutely going down the wrong road." Obviously speaking of President Bush, Mr. Cuomo goes on:

"He's had a free enterprise system that made 1 percent very rich. You have to put people like my family to work in the free enterprise system. You have to have free enterprise for the many. What do you want to call that? Conservative? Liberal? I call it American common sense."

Mr. Cuomo's remarks, not originally intended for a television commercial, nevertheless are a counter to the view of many more conservative Democrats that he is too liberal

to win a national election when liberal-bashing has become a standard Republican campaign tool.

Mr. Cuomo, in an interview with the Boston Globe published yesterday, pointedly declined to pull the rug out from under the draft effort. He said he was "undeniably flattered" by the drive. "How can I not approve of people saying we think you're so good you should be president?" he asked.

As for urging New Hampshire Democrats to vote for one of the five declared candidates in the field, he said he would "urge them to vote and follow their consciences and be what New Hampshire has always been."

The remarks buoyed the band of draft-Cuomo volunteers, now numbering as many as 300, according to Don Rose, a veteran Chicago political consultant who is the Cuomo drive's national political director.

The small headquarters here is running phone banks and has mailed 72,000 pieces of instructional literature to registered Democrats on how to write in Mr. Cuomo's name.

The Cuomo effort is the second write-in campaign going on here. The other is being waged by consumer advocate Ralph Nader, who is asking voters in both parties to write in his name to express support for a drive to place a "None of the Above" line on future ballots.

The Cuomo ads are being aired on the heels of a tracking poll for the Boston Globe and WBZ-TV of Boston in which 6 percent of New Hampshire voters, asked to choose from a list of Democratic candidates not including Mr. Cuomo, volunteered him as their preference.

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